The West Jefferson Business Association voted to propose a new location for the second annual Olde Time Antiques Fair at Monday’s West Jefferson Town Alderman meeting.
The location chosen for the fair was Jefferson Avenue, from the intersection at West Jefferson Town Hall to Tri County Monuments at the end of town. Also, the fair will branch off down East First Street (the side street at Blackjacks) and pass through businesses like Dr. Pepper and The Honey Hole.
“I think Jefferson Avenue is a good location and will help several businesses,” said Keith Woodie, the fair’s primary organizer and owner of Antiques on Main.
This decision was made during a business association meeting on March 15, which turned out to be a one and a half hour-long discussion about the potential location of the antique fair.
During the meeting, business owners located on main street revealed they were still upset because they wanted the antiques fair on the doorstep of their businesses, but the decision to use main street for the fair was rescinded by the West Jefferson Aldermen during it January meeting.
When the West Jefferson Business Association members took a yea or neigh vote during the March 15 meeting, all of the members in attendance voted yea, except for Lisa Willingham, co-owner of the Artist Theater, who abstained from voting.
“That meeting drew a lot of people,” said Woodie.
One of those in attendance was Tony Eldreth, the owner of Parkway Theater, who disapproved of the fair’s original location on main street in West Jefferson. Eldreth was concerned the fair would disrupt his business. However, Eldreth made sure to point out he supported his fellow business owners and the fair in general.
“Mr. Eldreth showed up to that meeting,” said Woodie. “He was supportive of the fair and wanted to help us; he just wanted us to understand him too.”
During the last West Jefferson Town Aldermen meeting in February, the business association met with the aldermen to further discuss the fair’s location.
According to Woodie, members of the board of aldermen wanted to protect West Jefferson’s more established businesses.
“Mr. Green made the statement there are 14 empty businesses in the town,” said Woodie. “What we’re trying to do as a business association is do things to fill up those buildings.”
Woodie said the business association plans to visit the next aldermen meeting to propose the Jefferson Avenue location as an alternative.
“We’re going to ask permission to close the streets at about 1 p.m. Friday, and the fair will go from about five until dark,” said Woodie.
Woodie also said the fair will last all day on Saturday, but will not be held on Sunday because most of the businesses in West Jefferson will be closed.
“That takes away the main reason why we’re having the fair,” said Woodie.
“That’s one of the reasons I’m a West Jefferson Business Association board member: I want to grow the town,” said Woodie. “We’re trying to throw an antiques fair like people haven’t seen. We’re really going to push hard.”
According to Woodie, between 10 and 15 venders have already applied for the 2013 antiques fair.
While evaluating the pros and cons of the Jefferson Avenue location, Woodie said the main street location is already owned by the town, and would have been a better choice. Even though the N.C. DOT already gave the business association permission to shut down Jefferson Avenue for the fair, the business association is still at the mercy of the DOT, who could possibly change their minds later.
“Hopefully, the size will work,” said Woodie about the Jefferson Avenue location. Woodie pointed out antiques fairs typically bring in venders who transport their goods using large trailers.